November 2019 Newsletter

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Nancy Cook Lauer
2020 SPJ Conference Chairwoman

Real Skills for Real News

    The for-profit media model seems to be becoming less tenable, leading to more news outlets going nonprofit, adopting a nonprofit arm or partnering with national nonprofits such as ProPublica to produce high-impact investigative pieces.

    Honolulu Civil Beat took down its paywall in 2016 and transitioned to a 501(c)3. Hawaii Public Radio, while a different breed, reports 94 percent of its funding is raised locally.

    Newspapers such as the Tampa Bay Times ( and the Miami Herald (, have created nonprofit funds to help pay for investigative work. Their actions are getting mixed reviews from readers, judging from Facebook posts, several of them wondering why ask for donations for something people are already paying for.

    And now, a legacy U.S. newspaper, the Salt Lake Tribune, has received IRS approval to go entirely nonprofit.

    Is this the future of news? Is a nonprofit media sustainable in the United States, and especially in Hawaii, where attracting the critical mass of readers, much less donors, is a challenge? If so, how does a newsroom go about the transition?

    This topic is just one of many set to be discussed at the SPJ Region 11 annual conference, being held next spring at the University of Hawaii-Manoa campus.

    We'll also feature in-depth sessions on covering indigenous issues and people, training sessions from Google and NICAR, a "fake news" and media literacy session from SPJ National President-Elect Matthew Hall and a bevy of college students from across the nation engaging in a debate competition organized by Cal Poly Professor John Patrick.

    Save the date March 20-21, 2020. More details to be forthcoming.


The venue is the Campus Center at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, seven miles from Daniel K. Inouye International Airport.

Things start right away on Friday (March 20) so it will be good for out-of-towners to arrive Thursday night (March 19).

We have arranged for 15 non-air-conditioned rooms 14 studio -- $59 per night -- and 1 corner studio -- $73 per night -- at Lincoln Hall of the East-West Center, two blocks from the Campus Center. You can make reserations through Hawaii SPJ President Stirling Morita at

Since the rooms are not air-conditioned, you might want to bring a portable hand-held fan.

If that doesn't appeal to you here is a list of hotels not that far from the venue:

Approximate daily rates for rooms with 1-2 beds, not including taxes:

-- Pagoda: $140 for a room with 2 double beds. $15.00 resort fee
-- Ohana East: $200-280. $22 resort fee
-- Ohana Malia: $246-$256. $22 resort fee
-- Ala Moana Hotel: $209-$240. $45 resort fee
-- Hilton Hawaiian Village: $214-$232 for Hilton Honors members. $235-$255 for non-members. $45 resort fee

We will be setting up an EventBrite site and sending you links.

Conference fees (which cover two lunches):

-- Student*: Early bird $40, $50 after Feb. 20
-- Professional SPJ member: Early bird $70, $80 after Feb. 20
-- Non-SPJ member: $80

* University of Hawaii-Manoa students qualify for a substantial discount because a university agency is sponsoring the use of the Campus Center.

Here's our link at Eventbrite to sign up:

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